... in losing my purse

Published on 16 May 2018
A leather purse

I lost my purse at the weekend. Or rather, I thought I had. I came back from the shops and then couldn't find it, so thought I'd dropped it or even been pick pocketed, looked everywhere of course, retraced my steps, and eventually decided to cancel it. Then discovered that I had it all along, and felt very silly. 

The experience was somewhat stressful, not helped by the fact that I don't have another card so no access to my bank account, and as it happened I had a total of £1.20 in cash on my person and no money on my Oyster card (non-Londoners may not know that you can't pay for fares on buses in cash). 

What a great  fortune then to have a husband, who had a working bank card and was able to supply me with some cash. Without that, I would have had to cancel my plans for the next day, which involved visiting a friend for lunch. I would not be able to get there without catching a bus and then a train, and would have been unable to bring something with me because I wouldn't have been able to pay for it. We normally do our grocery shopping on Monday or Tuesday, so although we had food for the next couple of days, we would have rapidly run out of basics, even pasta as it turned out. Later that week I would be going out with some friends for a coffee, and wouldn't be able to afford that either. This was at a time when, fortunately, the rent had been paid and there weren't any bills or major travel expenses, but imagine if there were and those were paid by the debit card. 

I have sometimes seen people topping up their oyster card with change and wondered why (you can pay by contactless card directly now, or use a debit card to top up, which is much quicker). You see people paying in cash in the supermarkets too. I, on the other hand, have many friends who regularly never carry cash. The fact is that although I live in a poorer part of London, most of my friends have never actually run out of money. And of course, sometimes a person may not be given access to a debit or credit card because their partner uses the finances to control that person and not just because they don't have the funds. (There are now laws against this form of coercive control).

My little experience, trivial as it was, brought the whole world into a different perspective. I am very grateful to God for this reminder of how fortunate and how privileged I am, and I ought to do more to help those who are not.